Power BI World Tour Chicago Report

On April 9th-10th, I attended the Power Platform World Tour event in Chicago, IL. This event, like all the world tour events, provided a great chance to meet people solving a variety of business problems with the Power Platform in diverse businesses.

Events like the World Tour also allow you to directly interact with people close to product development. Matthew Bolanos of Microsoft provided an impressive PowerApps demo in the keynote, introducing me to model-driven PowerApps projects, and demonstrating how a workflow specified in Flow can be quickly integrated and visualized in an App.

Business Process Apps with Flow
Business Process Apps with Flow

Later, in their “PowerApps Roadmap and Recent Updates” session, I had the chance to bluntly ask Matthew and Manas what makes PowerApps any different from past Rapid Application Development offerings from Microsoft, such as Microsoft Access, InfoPath, or even ASP.NET LightSwitch. Their answer was two-part:

  1. First, PowerApps has already broken the 2 million active user mark and continues to grow.
  2. Second, the cloud offers an unprecedented opportunity to operationalize low-code apps that was not available to previous platforms.

Even the concept of a “low-code development platform” has reached new maturity in the marketplace, as evidenced by Forrester naming PowerApps a leader in the Forrester Wave specifically made for this field. I came away with the impression that PowerApps is quickly following Power BI’s innovation curve, and is reaching the critical mass point of features plus users to justify first asking, “Why not an App?”

Besides learning about the platform, the world tour provided an opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with friends. Greg Baldini and Mark Baich (who just launched ezpbi.com!) joined me for local fare at Pizzeria Due and exchanged ideas on how to best serve our clients. I also made new friends like Jessica Jolly, who is an expert at training beginner Power BI users, Tommy Puglia (pictured below), who really inspired me with ideas from the Tampa Bay user group, and Luciano Moriguchi from John Deere, who is clearly using Power BI to make a big impact on his factory every day.

I would highly recommend attending these events if your team is using or considering the Power Platform!

Me with Tommy